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Turkey Confirms Fourth Human Bird Flu Death

An official collects poultry that will be destroyed in a suburb of Istanbul on 13 January (epa) 16 January 2006 -- Turkey today confirmed its fourth human death from bird flu as neighboring countries took special precautions to avoid the spread of the disease.

Laboratory tests today confirmed that a 12-year-old Turkish girl who died yesterday in the eastern city of Van was infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu. That makes Turkey the only country outside East Asia and China that has confirmed human bird flu deaths.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization warned countries sharing borders with Turkey to closely monitor their animal and human populations.

Syria said its intensified border controls have detected no human cases of bird flu so far.

Iran said it has set up special clinics in three towns near the Turkish border to cope with a possible outbreak. It has begun slaughtering thousands of domestic fowl within 15 kilometers of the Turkish border as a preventive measure.

Earlier today, the World Bank said it aims to raise $1.2 billion to fight bird flu globally.


Interview With UN FAO's Erwin Northoff

Interview With UN FAO's Erwin Northoff

An expert at the National Virology Laboratory of the Kyrgyz Health Ministry (courtesy photo)

GETTING READY: Many have expressed concern about the ability of Central Asian countries to come to grips with a possible bird-flu outbreak. RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Muhammad Tahir spoke with Erwin Northoff, news coordinator for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about the issue. ....(more)